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The Muslim Brotherhood Facing Up To Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The London-based Iranian conference which raises the slogan of Islamic unity “will be nothing more than a means to communicate destructive sectarian ideas to Islamic countries that are not aware of these doctrines which insult the Companions of the Prophet and slight his wives.” This is according to a strongly-worded statement calling for the boycott of the Third International Conference for the proximity between the Islamic sects in London. This is a conference which works in harmony with Iran’s interests, and therefore it was the most natural thing in the world for such a statement to be issued. However what was truly remarkable was that this statement was not issued by a Kuwaiti Salafist group, or the British Ahl al-Hadith group, or even the Ansar al-Sunnah group in Cairo, but rather by the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain.

It is also worth noting that this statement was issued despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s hazy position towards Iran and the Iranian extension in Arab and Islamic countries. The Muslim Brotherhood’s position towards Iran can be seen in the position taken by the organizations headquarters in Cairo, or its effective arm in Yemen, or Hamas, which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s strong military arm. However the statement from the Muslim Brotherhood in London was clear about Iran’s ideological activity, particularly the Huthist unrest [in Yemen] and the statement emphasized that “the greatest evidence of what we are saying can be seen in the serious events which are threatening Yemen and its unity, which is the plots of the Huthist gangs, not to mention the sectarian violence seen in Iraq which is being instigated by Iran’s sectarian militias.”

This statement reached me through my friend Dr. Abdulaziz Qasim, and after I analyzed the text of the statement I began to notice differences to traditional statements issued by the Muslim Brotherhood. I began to doubt the veracity of the statement and so I telephoned one of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in London in order to confirm this, and I learnt from him that this statement is not true, but at the same time neither is it a fake. There is no contradiction in this, for while this statement was not “officially” released by the London branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, it was indeed written by members of the British Muslim Brotherhood, even if they – in my opinion – refrained from appending their names to the statement for fear of embarrassing the leaders.

This statement reminds me of some of the comments made by members of the Muslim Brotherhood on my article “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Huthis” which was published on 29 September 2009. In this article I criticized the Muslim Brotherhood’s position towards Iran’s missionary activities in Sunni countries, as well as Iran using the Huthist rebels to harm Yemen.

This Muslim Brotherhood statement, even if it is not official, remains a positive and noticeable shift in the position of “some” of its members. This is a logical shift dictated by the obvious flaws in the Iranian policies. Iran revealed its true self when it played the Hezbollah resistance card, which resulted in Hezbollah attacking and destroying Sunni residences in Beirut [May 2008]. Iran also continuously plays another card – the card of calling for Islamic unity – whilst at the same time promoting its missionary activities in countries with Sunni populations such as Egypt and Morocco, or in countries where the Jaafari [Twelver] branch of Shi’ism had no presence, such as Yemen. This faint voice [of dissent] from some members of the Muslim Brotherhood should be echoed in the official position of the organization towards Iran and Iranian ideological activity.

The problem here lies with Iran and its influential media machine and all those who are following its lead by branding anybody who criticizes Iran’s ideological policies and is interference in Arab and Muslim countries as sectarian. We could perhaps agree with this assessment if Iran was only branding those who were inciting sectarianism for the purpose of harming society by turning the majority against the minority, and restricting and controlling [the minority’s] lives and religious freedoms. However this is not the reality and if you were to scrutinize Iran’s activities you would discover that Iran’s objectives are simply to promote sectarianism and sow discord, the latest example of which can be seen in the Iranian president’s reckless comments on this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. Iran is waging an ideological war against Arab countries that are already in a state of discord and division with regard to their Islamic identity. Therefore the outcome of this battle is already known in advance, and one ideology can only be countered by another.